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This year...I'm watching every Star Trek 
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Post This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
As I have mentioned around these here parts, I watch a film series to completion every year. Sometimes this leads to joy (every Bond movie!) and sometimes to inestimable pain (every Friday the 13th) but it always makes me feel like I've added to my body of film knowledge. I deliberated between Truffaut's Doinel cycle and Star Trek for this year's, and went for the latter since the second JJ Abrams film is coming out in 2013 and it would be cool to have seen all of them by then. Since I've only seen the recent 2009 reboot, I've got my work cut out for me.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) **1/2

This series did not start off with a bang. After reading about all the issues with the film I can see that I'm not alone in my negative view on it, but man is it a slog. Where's the fun character interaction which (apparently) characterizes the series? I don't know, I guess someone felt that 20 minute special effects sequences were more enjoyable. Plus if I saw any more moose knuckles through those tunics... I've heard Wrath of Khan is the best so I'm looking forward to Part II -- I technically saw it 20 years ago but I'm not counting it because I literally remember one scene from it -- but this was a hard movie to get through.

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Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:24 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
When it first came out, I so immensely enjoyed seeing my favorite characters come to life on the big screen. I enjoyed the final destination at V-ger and it's "link" to our time. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

I've watched it a few times since then, and in some ways it was as though the series creators had been frozen in time and suddenly thawed and told to make a feature film. Their excitement about available technology for special effects caused them to create a 2 hour version of a 1 hour TV show using the ain't-it-cool effects as time filler.

I'll still enjoy the "Motion Picture", but can't defend it beyond its 'firstness'.

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Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:06 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Yeah the first Star Trek just plain sucked, it felt more like a TV-movie then a feature film and was terminally boring with a nonsense plot that isn't compelling in the least, for me it's the worst of the all the Trek films. I'll gladly watch Final Frontier over it any day, at least that film didn't bore me half to death.


Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:12 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
I'm not as soured on The Motion Picture as a lot of people are. I think it partially succeeds as an "idea" film, and it completely succeeds in dragging Star Trek visually into the post-Star Wars era, although it fails utterly as an adventure story and it makes the crucial blunder of putting the classic trio of characters at odds for most of the movie.

Anyway, I predict Kunz will have a good time approximately 50% of the time. Remember the line from Spaced about every odd-numbered Star Trek being shit. I would further highlight the correlation between even-numbered Star Treks and the involvement of Nicholas Meyer. One thing he did not clarify is this: does "every Star Trek" mean every Original Series movie, or EVERY Star Trek movie including The Next Generation?

(My personal favorites are II and IV, and I vacillate between which one is better.)

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Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:28 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Did you, and by extenstion Vexer, watch the Director's Cut? Cause I saw that and while it is slow and cerebal, I wasn't bored with it. Heaven knows how bored I would've been with the theatrical cut.


Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:34 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
patrick wrote:
Did you, and by extenstion Vexer, watch the Director's Cut? Cause I saw that and while it is slow and cerebal, I wasn't bored with it. Heaven knows how bored I would've been with the theatrical cut.

Yeah I saw the theatrical cut, maybe the directors cut will be an improvement, but i'm not too keen on sitting through that film a second time.


Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:51 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
patrick wrote:
Did you, and by extenstion Vexer, watch the Director's Cut? Cause I saw that and while it is slow and cerebal, I wasn't bored with it. Heaven knows how bored I would've been with the theatrical cut.

I saw The Director's Cut. I would imagine that the theatrical edition is worse, but as I understand it the filmmakers were forced to release it ahead of schedule. Kind of makes it understandable that the flow of the film wasn't as tight as it should have been, though the Director's Cut is still quite deliberate.

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Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:26 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
It's been SO long since I've seen Star Trek: The Motion Picture that I remember little of it. I do remember thinking that it was one of the lesser Trek movies, but I still remember enjoying it. Although I've enjoyed all of the Trek movies. Yep, all of them. That includes the infamous The Final Frontier. In fact, I never got the hate for that movie. I thought it had a really cool story, some funny albeit admittedly corny moments and I thought the character of Sybock was an interesting one. I consider myself to be agnostic, but I found the story of Sybock taking the Enterprise hostage and taking it to the center of the Universe to see God, to be fascinating. And when they finally arrive, I thought it ended very well.

But as far as this movie goes, yeah, I really don't remember too much. Definitely need to give it a rewatch.


Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:32 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
When I went to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture at the cinema with my father, I was beyond excited. I was completely enthralled by seeing our favourite characters on the big screen and, even aged 12, I didn't notice the slow pace or length of the film at all.


Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:54 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
What a nice project; I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on all of the Star Trek movies.

A friend of mine and I once watched Star Trek I to V in a row. Perhaps it was just the ample supply of caffeinated fizzy drinks we consumed, but we had a great laugh (giggling hysterically in fact), despite of the mixed quality of the films.

In my opinion, the rule of odd-numbered Star Treks movies being bad and even-numbered ones being good generally holds true:

Star Trek I isn’t too bad, in my opinion, but it’s way too long and, consequently, a little boring. It feels as if it was just a blown-up episode. Hang on it is a blown-up episode: In “The Changeling”, a space probe called Nomad invades the Enterprise looking for its maker and threatening to eliminate all “biological units” on board.
Star Trek II is a space opera version of Moby Dick, sort of. It’s a good sci-fi actioner and, in the light of the fervent fanbase at the time, the ending is quite daring and effective.
Therefore, it is a shame that Star Trek III negates the ending of Star Trek II. “Search for Spock” has one of the most ludicrous plots of all Star Trek, including decades of TV episodes, seconded only by complete tosh like “Spock’s Brain”. If it wasn’t the middle part of a three movie story ark, I would recommend to skip it.
I have a theory that most movie series/ franchises sooner or later stop taking their original premise seriously and try for a comedic approach. “You only live twice” would be one example fotr Bond movies, Star Trek IV is another one for this franchise. And it is as a funny time-travel romp, indeed.
The less said about Start Trek V, the better. The worst movie in the franchise.
Star Trek VI is my favourite entry into the series. Star Trek is at its best when it uses the science-fiction scenario to deal with philosophical/ethical questions or current political issues. Here, the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union are reflected in a plot about peace negotiatons with the Klingons and "Cold Warrior" Kirk having to overcome his own prejudice. The special effects hold up well and all crew members get their moment to shine in the farewell movie for the old crew.
Star Trek VII is the first movie involving the Next Generation crew. Unfortunately, the filmmakers never got the spirit of the Next Generation right. This isn’t the worst problem about Star Trek VII, though, which is just not very involving.
Star Trek VIII is a decent action movie, but violates the spirit of the Next Generation TV series even more: Captain Picard is turned into a vengeful action hero, which is the opposite of the thoughtful commander of the Enterprise of the TV series. Also, there are some really annoying moments, which would be more at home in a Jerry Bruckheimer action movie.
Star Trek IX suffers from the same problem as Star Trek I: It feels like a blown-up episode - and a bad one, for that matter. The second or third-worst Star Trek movie.
Star Trek X marks the farewell of the Next Generation crew and is the exception to the “(only) even-numbered Star Trek movies are good” rule. With a car chase (!) and a plot concerning clones (lame), it is a bit rubbish.
Star Trek XI is a good reboot of the series, although it doesn't comply with the established Star Trek continuity, which probably offended quite a few Trekkies. I wasn’t to impressed with the changes to continuity either, but I enjoyed how much it got the tone of the original Star Trek TV series right.


Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:06 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Having grown up with a father who loves Star Trek I was often exposed to it. I alays liked not loved ST. I enjoyed it. But was more of a casual fan. My dad's a Trekkie, albeit not serious enough that he owns a ST uniform of a pair of Vulcan ears.

As far as the movies themselves go:

ST: The Motion picture is bleh. Its slow as hell and never seems to go anywhere.

Wrath Of Khan is definitely the best or at least in the top 5. Enough depth and emotion to help it rise above.

Search For Spock is lighter. But still worthwhile. Not as good as the one before it or the one after. But better than the first ST (or a few others for that matter).

The Voyage Home handles its comedic elements quite well. If it had been done wrong, it could have bene the ST series Moonraker. Instead its STs The Spy Who Loved Me.

The Final Frontier is the series Moonraker. William Shatner proves that he directs as well as he sings, the film is full of silliness and teh story bogs down multiple times. Definitely the worst of the ST franchise.

The Undiscovered Country is a great rebound. The sociopolitical elements work well and the film has some genuine pathos.

Generations is a sort of hybrid film designed to bridge the gap between the original ST and Next Generation. The hybrid nature in some ways prevents it from working as well as it should. The villains aren't villainous enough, the jokey elements such as the Data emotions cheap sequence feel tossed off and the (SPOILER Warning) death of Kirk (END SPOILER) never hits as emotionally as it should.

First Contact is easily the best NG Star Trek film and about on the smae level as Voyage Home and Undiscovered Country. The actions sequences, even if they are a tad too Michael Bay like in spots, are well-done and the introduction of James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane alone makes this worth a view.

Insurrection wasn't liked by a lot fo people. But I found it to be decent overall. Not in the top tier. But about on the level of Search For Spock and ahead of ST The Motion Picture, Final Frontier, Generations and Nemesis.

Nemesis is definitely towards the bottom rung of Star Trek movies. The film itself is emotionally inert, the clone plot is a yawn, the action sequences here are too Bruckheimerish and it flat out doesn't work. Not a good note to end the NG era on.

JJ Abrams Star Trek is a nice reboot. The continutiy changes turned off and in some cases infuritated many hardcore trekkies (including my father). But casual fans of the series seemed to enjoy it. I found it to be a nice break from the Michael Bay clones that were dominating teh box office at the time.

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Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:41 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Nemesis is one of favorite Star Trek films, I thought the action were pretty good and it was a fitting conclusion to the NG films, Insurrection was rather average, my problem is the Fridge Logic with the big plot twist(Agony Booth explained it better then I ever could)


Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:31 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Jeff Wilder wrote:
The Final Frontier is the series Moonraker. William Shatner proves that he directs as well as he sings,


Now that's funny...


Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:07 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
I'll admit there are probably some tonal problems with The Final Frontier but I still liked the story and Sybock was an interesting character.

Generations is my least favorite. It had the most potential but it more often squandered it's potential. The idea behind the nexus is an interesting one, but it needed to be developed more. As is, both Kirk and Picard realize it to be fake WAY too fast. So the nexus ends up becoming little more than a plot device to get Picard and Kirk to meet and leave and team up against Soren. Speaking of Soren, he's such an incredibly disappointing bad guy. Part of it is the way it is written, but part of it is Malcolm McDowell's fault too. Soren is suppose to be so obsessed with getting back to the nexus that he's willing to destroy planets in order to do so. This should make him one of Trek's most compelling villains but I never felt that obsession from McDowell. He didn't sell it IMO. The movie isn't all bad. The action is slick, the scene where the Enterprise's saucer section falls and crashes into the planet was pretty freaking awesome. And the stuff Data and his emotion ship was often hilarious. I also enjoyed the scenes between Kirk and Picard a lot even though they could have and should have done SO much more with them together. And, yes, I agree, Kirk's death was rather lame. He actually had a better death when people thought he was originally dead on the younger Enterprise (don't remember which letter it was).


My over ratings for each Star Trek:

The Motion Picture: B (again, this is going by memory, I really do need to see it again)
The Wrath of Khan: A+
The Search for Spock: B+
The Voyage Home: B
The Final Frontier: B
The Undiscovered Country: A-
Generations: B-
First Contact: A
Insurrection: A-
Nemesis: A-
JJ Abrams reboot: B+


Nemesis and Insurrection are also incredibly underrated. Nemesis has some of the action scenes of any Trek movie, a great villain in Shinzon (played by a very young Tom Hardy) and great themes and ideas concerning identity and how the actions and events in our lives shape who we are today. Insurrection meanwhile is a great allegorical tale with some beautiful images, some great space action and a great story involving the ethics surrounding what constitutes as the greater good. It's also just the most beautiful looking Trek movie period.


Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:34 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Nemesis.

Tom Hardy.

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Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:20 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Hey thanks for all the thoughts so far guys, though I will admit to skimming reviews of ones I haven't seen yet.

To answer Ken's question, when I say every one I mean every one...all the way through Nemesis. Should be fun!

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Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:18 am
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Well I sincerely hope I won't derail this thread. Of course everybody knows that Willam Shatner is a bad actor. Yet he is indispensable as Captain James T. Kirk.
My issue is that I actually feel sorry for him. He seems to be struggling and uncomfortable all the time and his speech pattern never flows naturally: it is extremely uneven, he seems to switch from freeze-framing to ultra-fast talking with no rhyme or reason - he is probably trying way too hard - it shows right from the first moments in "Star Trek - The Movie" (1979) where he looks incredibly different compared to the original tv show BTW.
I recently watched the two "Columbo" episodes ("Fade into Murder" and "Butterflies in Shades of Grey"), where Shatner is the guest star (which of course means: the killer). I felt even more sorry for him there. I am NOT being sarcastic. I like Willam Shatner. Just his acting....

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Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:07 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
My one-word thoughts on the Star Trek films, having seen all of them:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Meh.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - Good.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - Feh.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - Ok.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Crap.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Ok.
Star Trek: Generations - Garbage.
Star Trek: First Contact - Mung.
Star Trek: Insurrection - Boring.
Star Trek: Nemesis - Crap.
Star Trek (2009) - Yay.

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Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:21 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Quote:
Since I've only seen the recent 2009 reboot, I've got my work cut out for me.
Where's the fun character interaction which (apparently) characterizes the series?


have you seen any of the original tv show? without some familiarity of it, it may be hard for you to get into the movies.

The Abrams reboot was more for non fans of the show than for Trekkies(which partly explains the huge box office)
I've encountered a lot of film fans who have only seen the Abrams version & have no intention of seeing any of the older ones.

I never would have predicted a Star Trek movie could be that big, but I guess with enough action scenes you can make the even the nerdiest of film franchises 'cool' to the average moviegoer.
Sherlock Holmes is another one I wouldn't have ever predicted being a hit a few years ago. I expect a big budget Dr Who(maybe sporting some guns & knives) in the future.


Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:00 pm
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Post Re: This year...I'm watching every Star Trek
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) ***1/2

Now this is more like it. After the turgid pace and faceless villain of the original, we get an honest to goodness adventure with a charismatic antagonist and some good space battle scenes. A few qualms though:

I was a little surprised at how little Khan's backstory was revealed, and that hurt the movie a bit for me. Subsequent research showed me that this was because the movie is a sequel, after a fashion, to one of the TV show episodes. That explains a lot, but I still wanted to hear Kirk's explanation for the whole thing because Khan's is really the only one we get.
Also, the plot with Kirk's ex-squeeze and his long lost son doesn't really work at all.

But these were mainly just trifles. Ricardo Montalban is great as Khan, the interplay between Bones/Kirk/Spock is really good, it was exciting and fun and I had a blast watching it. Bring on the next (apparently shitty) one!

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Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:15 pm
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